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A pre-exhibition reflection on 'A Celebration of Ceramics'

Sometimes you see something and it makes you want to write, it makes you want to capture in words how you feel. The 'Celebration of Ceramics' exhibition makes us feel like that.

The Drop Off...

Yesterday, was spent in the company of some talented local potters. Lidded boxes arrived, which from the outside gave no sense of the treasures that lay inside. As each one was opened, we relished the ceramics that revealed themselves. We marvelled in the language of clay, of colours, glazes and forms. We talked of pieces that brought pride and of pieces that hadn’t turned out as expected but somehow held their own beauty. To hold a piece of pottery is somehow a way of touching nature. Clay is such a wonderfully natural material to work with, especially for Tina Hill-Art from Shaldon as she has permission to dig clay locally and use it as a slip to decorate her pieces. Look out for this rich, dark brown on her enigmatic ladies.

The Curating...

The pots, the figures and the decorative pieces were all placed in rand

omness on the tables and then we let them speak. We let the complementary colours find each other and the textures that wanted to sit together be together. We became curators but we were not in charge; it was the colours, the textures, the patterns which led us. One particularly pleasing wooden display shelf in Seaglass has many boxes. Filling it with clay treasures took us back to a childhood of playing with dolls houses. It was something about the way the pieces being handled were small and moving them around takes you into the world of the miniaturist. As in life, nothing is static and so pieces can be moved and a small change can have a big impact. Anthi Kay’s porcelain shells and wave dishes sit beautifully in their space alongside Helen McCormick's vibrant pieces of liquid sea - one movement can change the whole feel of the display.

The Story...

Each exhibition piece is unique. The experienced hands that work the clay are the tools for the creativity that flows through the artist’s mind. It is this that we are buying when we buy a piece of art- the hours and hours of time that has led to the development of these skills; the expertise that has chosen the perfect form, colour and texture and the care and love that goes into each piece. No two pieces are alike and each has a story.

What 3 Words...

Did you know that every three metre square of the world has been given a unique combination of three words? Penny O’Brien has used these location words along with sketches of Lympstone’s harbour and Cliff Field to create unique pieces of pottery. Each piece has a little bit of Lympstone’s landscape and the accompanying ‘what3words’ carved into it. The landscape really does become the pot. They are the perfect way to give a little bit of Lympstone to someone.

The Inspiration...

Lympstone’s plant life can be seen in Mai Welton’s exquisite tiles with their gentle hues perfectly forming the backdrop for delicate grasses and seed heads. The waters of Lympstone and the peace they bring are part of Debbie Stewart’s sea glaze collection. Her mugs and pots encourage you to have a bit of Lympstone calm in your daily life. Each one of our exhibiting ceramicists has their own story and artistic journey. Charline Marzin has been perfecting moon pots of various sizes on her pottery wheel. Bold rainbow colours and patterns sing out perfectly to enhance the simple curve of the jars. Tricia Seabright’s contemporary work is very popular with its strong forms and bold patterns. Different styles, different stories… Art is all about the stories.

For us, this exhibition really is about celebrating the talent, the uniqueness and the skill of local ceramicists and supporting them so that the local art scene continues to thrive and feed our souls.

Written by Charlotte Ellis 27th April 2023


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